Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On June 13, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received a notice from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitting its draft Guidance to Assist Interested Persons in Developing and Submitting Draft Risk Evaluations Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (RIN 2070-ZA18) for review and approval.  Under Section 26(l)(5), EPA is required, “[n]ot later than 1 year after the date of enactment … [to] develop guidance to assist interested persons in developing and submitting draft risk evaluations which shall be considered by the Administrator.”  While the “framework rules” have been the subject of considerable focus since last June, this guidance is as important, subject to the one year deadline, and likely to provide significant insights into EPA’s thinking on risk evaluations.  EPA must publish the final rule in the Federal Register by June 22, 2017.

More information on the final rule on Procedures for Evaluating Existing Chemical Risks under TSCA is available in our memorandum EPA Releases Proposed Chemical Risk Evaluation Process under New TSCA.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On June 1, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted its final rulemaking on the Procedures for Evaluating Existing Chemical Risks under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval.  

EPA’s proposed rule describes a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use; and identifies the steps of a risk evaluation process including scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and finally a risk determination.  This process would be used for the first ten chemical substances to be evaluated from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, chemical substances designated as High-Priority Substances during the prioritization process, and those chemical substances for which EPA has initiated a risk evaluation in response to manufacturer requests. Comments were due March 20, 2017; 87 comments were filed.  Pursuant to new TSCA, EPA must publish the final rule in the Federal Register by June 22, 2017

More information on the rule as proposed is available in our memorandum EPA Releases Proposed Chemical Risk Evaluation Process under New TSCA.


 

By Christopher R. Bryant and Lynn L. Bergeson

According to press reports, Nancy Beck, Ph.D., DABT has been hired as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP).  Dr. Beck holds a doctorate in environmental health from the University of Washington.  For the past five years she served as the Senior Director for Regulatory Science Policy at the American Chemistry Council (ACC).  For a decade prior to ACC, she was an analyst within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Despite Dr. Beck’s compelling credentials, the appointment has displeased some stakeholders.  Dr. Beck has been a staunch critic of how EPA conducts chemical risk assessments and its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).  President Trump is proposing to eliminate IRIS; it thus is unlikely that Dr. Beck would revive or rely upon it in implementing the recently revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  Less than two months ago, Dr. Beck provided testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management calling for changes to EPA’s risk assessment processes. 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to publish a notice in the Federal Register reopening the comment period on the risk evaluation scoping efforts under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for the ten chemical substances that were designated on December 19, 2016:

  • 1, 4 Dioxane;
  • Methylene Chloride;
  • 1-Bromopropane;
  • N-Methylpyrolidone;
  • Asbestos;
  • Pigment Violet 29;
  • Carbon Tetrachloride;
  • Trichloroethylene;
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster (HBCD); and
  • Tetrachloroethylene.

The prepublication version is available on the Federal Register website.  The initial notice, issued in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, announced a public meeting which took place on February 14, 2017, and solicited “comments to receive input and information to assist the Agency in its efforts to establish the scope of risk evaluations under development for the ten chemicals substances.”  This notice will extend the comment period for 14 days, from March 1, 2017, to March 15, 2017, in response to a request from the interested public.  

More information is available in our blog items EPA To Hold Public Meeting on Uses and Conditions of Use for the Initial Ten Chemicals to be Evaluated under TSCA Section 6 and EPA Announces Initial List of TSCA Section 6 Chemicals for Risk Evaluation

 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Federal Register notice announcing it will be holding a public meeting to receive public input and information on uses and conditions of use for the initial ten chemicals to be evaluated under Section 6(b)(2)(A) of the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) on February 14, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST), at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Polaris Room, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20004.  82 Fed. Reg. 6545.  EPA states that the information it gathers on uses and the conditions of use will assist it in identifying potential exposure scenarios for the ten chemicals.

Registration is available online and remote access will be available for registered participants.  Public dockets for each chemical have been established. Written comments and materials will also be accepted in these dockets on www.regulations.gov.  EPA requests for them to be submitted by March 1, 2017.

Additional information, including links to the public dockets, is available on EPA’s website and in our blog item EPA Announces Initial List of TSCA Section 6 Chemicals for Risk Evaluation.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published three Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) proposed framework rules:  TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements (Jan. 13, 2017); Procedures for Prioritization of Chemicals for Risk Evaluation Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (Jan. 17, 2017); and Procedures for Chemical Risk Evaluation Under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act (Jan. 19, 2017).  Summaries, insights, and commentary from B&C’s TSCA experts on these rules are available in memoranda on the B&C website.  Below please find links to the memoranda:

B&C’s experts have also recently written up summaries and analysis related to the following other TSCA-related rulemakings:


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Carla N. Hutton, Charles M. Auer, and Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D.

On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule that would establish a process for conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, including an unreasonable risk to a potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation, under the conditions of use.  The process would not consider costs or other nonrisk factors.  Risk evaluation is the second step, after prioritization, in a new process of existing chemical substance review and management established under recent amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The proposed rule identifies the steps of a risk evaluation process, including scope, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and finally a risk determination.  EPA proposes that this process be used for the first ten chemical substances to be evaluated from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments, chemical substances designated as High-Priority Substances during the prioritization process, and those chemical substances for which EPA has initiated a risk evaluation in response to manufacturer requests.  The proposed rule also includes the required “form and criteria” applicable to such manufacturer requests.  EPA posted a pre-publication version of the proposed rule on its website.  When the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, it will begin a 60-day comment period.  This is the third foundational rule released during the week of January 9, 2017.  An in-depth memorandum on the proposed risk evaluation process, as well as memoranda regarding EPA’s proposed requirements for TSCA Inventory notification and prioritization process for reviewing existing chemicals, will be available on our website under the key phrase TSCA.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, and Margaret R. Graham

On December 7, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would be issuing a rule proposing to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of trichloroethylene (TCE) for certain uses under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), due to its determination that there are significant health risks associated with TCE use in aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.  The proposed action is significant for several reasons, including that it represents the first use in a very long time of TSCA Section 6 as well as the first Section 6 control action taken under new TSCA.  Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit the use of TCE in “aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; to prohibit commercial use of TCE for aerosol degreasing and for spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities; to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors, except for retailers of TCE for any use, to provide downstream notification of these prohibitions throughout the supply chain; and to require limited recordkeeping.”  We look forward to a close reading of the proposed rule and to evaluating the arguments, the policy points, and the evidence provided by EPA to satisfy the various legal requirements, including those under Section 6(c) and Section 26.

EPA’s online Fact Sheet on TCE lists questions and answers as related to the proposed rule.  In response to Question 3, What are the potential risks of TCE to people?, EPA states that its 2014 risk assessment found TCE to be “carcinogenic to people through all routes of exposure, which include inhalation, dermal (skin), and ingestion.”  The pre-publication of the proposed rule is available on EPA’s website.  Once it has been published in the Federal Register, comments must be submitted within 60 days of publication. 


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On November 10, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) reportedly received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft proposed risk evaluation rule under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Procedures for Evaluating Existing Chemical Risks Under the Toxic Substances Control Act.  This is a much anticipated procedural rule that will establish EPA’s process for evaluating the risk of so called “high priority” chemicals.  This is the second rule of three Framework Action rules that amended TSCA has directed EPA to issue in final within one year of enactment, or by mid-June 2017.  The Inventory rule, which will require industry reporting of chemicals manufactured/processed in the previous ten years, is expected to be sent to OMB soon.  Whether election transition issues will complicate and perhaps slow the review process is unclear but certainly not unlikely.

More information on the implementation of amended TSCA is available in our TSCA Reform News & Information website and in our TSCA Reform memoranda.


 

By Zameer Qureshi

Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner at Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), presented at Chemical Watch Enforcement Summit Europe in Brussels on November 4, 2016.  Topics covered by Ms. Bergeson included “A New [Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)] and Expanded Enforcement and Product Liability Opportunities,” “Next Generation Compliance and Implications for Businesses,” and “eDisclosure -- The New Normal?”

Ms. Bergeson informed attendees of the significant amendments made to chemical regulation in the U.S. by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (new TSCA).  She indicated that new TSCA amends TSCA in a number of ways and provided delegates with useful detail on the significant amendments made by new TSCA, stating that new TSCA: 

  1. Resets the Chemical Inventory based on industry-supplied data;
  2. Requires screening assessments for all “active substances”;
  3. Mandates risk evaluation for all “high-priority” substances and risk management for some substances;
  4. Compels substantiation of confidential business information (CBI) claims; and
  5. Authorizes testing order authority (i.e., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can compel chemical testing in addition to the more traditional test rule and consent order testing procedures).

Ms. Bergeson utilized a slide entitled “New Compliance Mandates = New Enforcement Opportunities” to address EPA’s expanded authority under new TSCA (e.g., Section 4 test orders, Section 5 new chemical safety “determinations,” and Section 6 prioritization).  She expressed that EPA’s expanded authority under new TSCA gives rise to significant opportunities for enforcement of allegations of non-compliance when Section 4 test orders are issued. 

Regarding testing, Ms. Bergeson stated “the [U.S.] testing program has relevance for people anywhere in the world” as chemical manufacturers can be expected to be ordered to test, and manufacturers include importers.  Ms. Bergeson expressed that more testing will trigger an enhanced need to consider reporting under new TSCA Section 8(e).  She described the possible outcomes of new chemical safety “determinations” by EPA under Section 5 and indicated that as a consequence of new TSCA “we’re going to see lots and lots of new [Significant New Use Rules (SNUR)].”  Additionally, Ms. Bergeson stated “[Chemical Data Reporting (CDR)] requirements and Section 8 requirements are much more robust now.” 

Drawing on her experience and current information from EPA, Ms. Bergeson analyzed “Next Generation Compliance” and provided insights to attendees on what it means for industry.  She relied on a diagram from EPA that indicates Next Generation Compliance encompasses an intersection of “Regulation and Permit Design,” “Advanced Monitoring,” “Electronic Reporting,” “Transparency,” and “Innovative Enforcement.”  Ms. Bergeson stated “Next Gen Compliance is an Obama Administration initiative” and emphasized the relevance of the U.S. presidential election for the future of Next Generation Compliance by stating “Next Generation Compliance will likely grow under the Clinton Administration or may die on the vine under a Trump Administration.”  She then discussed each of the individual components of Next Generation Compliance. 

Regarding Regulation and Permit Design, Ms. Bergeson stated that EPA’s goals were to “make permits clearer,” promote self-monitoring and third-party reporting, make compliance easier than non-compliance, and leverage market forces and incentives. 

Ms. Bergeson stated that the expansion of “Advanced Monitoring Technologies” means there are new tools that can assist industry.  She described the usefulness of real-time monitoring (i.e., knowing about releases into the environment on a real-time basis), facility feedback loops, fenceline and community monitoring, and remote sensing.  Ms. Bergeson noted, as a potential drawback of Advanced Monitoring, that “technologies that have not necessarily been vetted” are finding their way into enforcement consent agreements.  She then indicated that while this may be fine, the reliability of such technologies for regulatory purposes is untested and reliance on such technologies in regulatory contexts should not replace more traditional notice and comment rulemaking.

Ms. Bergeson stated “Electronic Reporting is a huge part of Next Generation Compliance; the era of submitting paper [is over],” and informed delegates that “information technologies enable new solutions, but invite concerns regarding accuracy and regulatory reliability.”  She stated “Electronic Reporting does not always go as intended and greatly facilitates finding non-compliance.”  Ms. Bergeson referenced the relevant EPA memorandum and informed attendees that Electronic Reporting is the default mechanism for providing information under new TSCA, and stated that Ohio Discharge Monitoring Report Electronic Reporting “checks submissions overnight and sends notices” if there are problems, thereby allowing the permittee to make corrections and resubmit.

Regarding Innovative Enforcement, Ms. Bergeson expressed that EPA is using Next Generation tools in enforcement settlements, and that Innovative Enforcement enhances targeting and data analysis to identify and address the most serious violations.  She stated “we really like new technologies, but if a technology is new it may not be standardized, making reliance on it necessarily more focused to enforcement and not rulemaking purposes.”  Additionally, Ms. Bergeson informed delegates that there is “a little concern in the regulated community in the U.S.” that some of the new technologies evolving from Innovative Enforcement efforts could undermine the notice and comment rulemaking process if these technologies are used for purposes beyond consent orders.

Ms. Bergeson stated that EPA’s “eDisclosure” portal provides companies with a new way to self-report violations of environmental law and is intended to “streamline confessions” by the “legal and corporate community,” and described the two-tier system within EPA’s eDisclosure portal and stated that for some violations “you can get on with your life.” 

Ms. Bergeson stated “we always urge [B&C] clients to fix the problem immediately … The issue arises in some contexts of ‘do we tell EPA?’”  She then informed delegates of the underpinning principles of eDisclosure by stating “it is believed that self-confessing should be rewarded.”  Ms. Bergeson advised that companies can seek to reduce penalties by self-confessing, but the decision to self-confess is always fact dependent, and then indicated that the future of eDisclosure could be significantly impacted by the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

Ms. Bergeson addressed “Design and Use of Safer Chemicals” and told attendees that EPA has “tried very hard” to promote Safer Chemicals through Green Chemistry, Safer Choice Labels, and the Safer Chemical Ingredient List, and that “creative technologies that are better, cheaper, and less toxic” are actively encouraged by EPA and welcomed by the U.S. chemical regulatory community.

Ms. Bergeson expressed that the implications of new TSCA are significant for the chemical manufacturing, importing, and downstream user sectors and provided beneficial “Closing Thoughts” to attendees.  She stated that chemical manufacturers, importers, and downstream users need to:  

  1. Read and understand the law and engage in “trade associations’ implementation activities”;
  2. Assess chemical product inventories;
  3. Manage the “business and optics” of chemical assessment, management, and substitution;
  4. Assess CBI options; and
  5. Manage chemical data information carefully.

Ms. Bergeson stated that the “implications of new TSCA are paradigm shifting … In the next two to five years we’re going to see opportunities for non-compliance.”  Regarding CBI, Ms. Bergeson stated “we need to be very cognizant … Some of the changes are very subtle and it is an area ripe for enforcement … Assertion of CBI is at a higher standard -- EPA will be very vigilant.”  Ms. Bergeson emphasized EPA’s “much richer implementation authority” under new TSCA and informed delegates that Next Generation enforcement and eDisclosure tools “add to the pressure” on the U.S. chemical industry to monitor carefully chemical portfolios.

Ms. Bergeson answered a number of questions on new TSCA and EPA’s likely enforcement of it.  In response to a delegate’s question relating to the capacity of EPA to manage enforcement of new TSCA, she stated that EPA requires greater resources and is currently recruiting.  Ms. Bergeson answered questions from attendees on timelines for pending rules from EPA and highlighted EPA’s interest in expediting its rulemaking on fees.  She indicated that fees will be higher under new TSCA.  Ms. Bergeson responded to a question regarding the scope of new TSCA by clarifying that new TSCA relates to industrial chemicals and that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) will continue to maintain their previous regulatory scope.  Ms. Bergeson indicated that the only exception is found under TSCA Section 8(b)(10), which requires any or all mercury or mercury compounds, or any intentional use of mercury in a manufacturing process to be reported to EPA under the mercury inventory and reporting provisions, regardless of whether the use  of the mercury or mercury compound is regulated under FIFRA or FFDCA.


 
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